Training Dogs to Use a Treadmill
Brisk walking or jogging on a treadmill is a wonderful way for both people and dogs to exercise during the winter months when it may be cold and/or icy outside.
There are actually companies that manufacture treadmills exclusively for canines. These machines are designed with railings on the side, a narrow moving belt and the space in front of the dog is open as opposed to being a structure that a person might hold onto.
It is certainly possible to teach a dog to ride any treadmill. One advantage to the doggie apparatus is that it is often smaller and takes up less room.
The trick to teaching the treadmill to a dog is to build confidence by allowing the dog to jump off of it at any time. Knowing they can depart gives dogs the capacity to stay on.
To begin, lure your dog onto the treadmill when it is not running. Feed the dog for just standing on the belt. Next allow the dog to figure out how to jump off of it. Repeat this scenario until the dog is voluntarily walking onto the belt because he understands you will offer him a treat in that position.
Next, turn the treadmill on as slow as it will go and feed the dog for standing next to it and eventually for standing facing where he will get on. This allows him to get used to the sound and notice what is happening.
Keeping the treadmill on the slowest speed, encourage the dog to get up onto the moving belt and immediately hop off. Reward with a treat for his bravery. Spend some time making a game of jumping onto and off of the moving belt.
Once the dog appears calm, start to feed him on the belt for a few seconds and then allow him to jump off. Gradually increase the length of time the dog is eating and walking on the moving belt.
Finally, after a few sessions slowly increase the speed of the treadmill and offer food intermittently as the dog jogs.
Use a timer so you know how long the dog is being asked to jog. For most dogs working up to 10 minutes is a real challenge.
Never tie or leave your dog unattended on a treadmill.
Once learned, most dogs love working on the running machine. Have fun and remember to take your turn too!